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Amazon Unveils $199 'Fire' Tablet And New Kindle Readers

There's much breathless live-blogging going on in the tech world as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils his company's latest gadgets, including what Bloomberg News first reported will be a $199 tablet computer called Kindle Fire — Amazon's much-anticipated competitor to the iPad.

Bloomberg added that it will have a 7-inch display and "will run on Google Inc.'s Android software." Among the things it won't have, according to Bloomberg: an embedded camera or microphone. And it comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, but not 3G access.

As the anticipation built, Bezos first introduced some new versions of its Kindle reader. Among the blogs following his every word was The Wall Street Journal's Digits, which said that as of 10:35 a.m. ET Bezos was just getting to the Fire, but had already shown off:

-- A Kindle Touch, which as its name implies has no keyboard and instead employs a touch screen. There's a WiFi only version for $99 and a 3G version for $149.

-- A simpler Kindle that will cost $79.

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. It's On Amazon.com:

The Fire is now for sale (pre-orders only) at Amazon's website.

And you can find all its "technical details" there, including battery life (up to 8 hours), size (7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45") and display (1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors).

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET. One Comparison:

Wired says the Fire weighs 14.6 ounces. An iPad2 weighs about 1.3 pounds, depending on model.

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Highlights.

Here's how The Wall Street Journal sums up the news:

"Amazon.com Inc. on Wednesday unveiled the Kindle Fire tablet for $199, the latest — and possibly biggest — challenger to Apple Inc.'s dominant iPad. The new tablet, which works off a customized version of Google Inc.'s Android operating system, has a 7-inch screen and can access Amazon's app store, streaming movies and TV shows. The tablet will go on sale Nov. 15 and people can start pre-ordering Wednesday."

Gizmodo says "a $200 tablet with unlimited streaming from a huge library is ... awesome? Yes, awesome."

Wired points out that "oh, and it also runs Flash. Take that, iPad."

Update at 11 a.m. ET. Price Confirmed, It's $199:

In announcing that the Fire will cost $199, Bezos said "we're building premium products at non-premium prices," Digits reports. The tablet will ship on Nov. 15.

Update at 10:55 a.m. ET. A Photo:

This will give you a sense of what the Fire looks like.

Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. More Details About The Fire:

-- All of the device's content will be backed up to "the Amazon Cloud," Bezos says, according to Business Insider.

-- "We're seeing a close-up of the device. It looks similar to an iPad," reports Digits.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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